By Michael Christiansen
Youth soccer has become incredibly competitive and is a full-time job for young athletes. Professional soccer players have a team of Athletic Trainers, massage areas, spas, Physical Therapists, Strength Coaches and most teams have an Orthopedic Doctor on staff. Unfortunately our Youth Athletes are not privileged to these accommodations. They also have an 8 hour school day where they sit most of the time, a 3 hour practice and 2-3 hours of homework where they are sitting again.
What is Youth Soccer missing? Soft Tissue work, mainly Myo-fascial Massage. Hopefully we can shed some light on why Myo-fascial massage is so important. When we constantly stress our muscles, micro tears occur and when they heal the muscle is a little stronger. With these tears we cause stress to the fascial area. The fascia covers every muscle in the body and is connected from head to toe. The stress to the fascia can cause a soft adhesion. These adhesions cause the fluid in the fascia to become sticky. When this occurs nerves can stick to the muscle not allowing the muscle to function correctly. This can not be fixed with conventional stretching.
How does this effect athletes? Primarily soccer players? We have found that these problems occur at the ankle, shin and calf. If the problem isn’t addressed at an early stage it can turn into a knee and hip problem. These structures will be overused in order to make up for the lack of movement in the ankle, calf, and shin.
Now, how do we start working Myo-fascial Massage into our Youth Soccer Programs? We use two pieces of equipment at Revolution Fitness in Cooper City. We use The Stick and
a Lacrosse Ball . Besides training with a Strength Coach, these two items are the two best tools an athlete can have to prevent injury and improve performance. I have attached Hyperlinks to Amazon if you would like to purchase these items.
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